The Purple Line is scheduled to begin passenger service in the Fall of 2026, four years later than the original schedule set out by Gov. Larry Hogan. The Capital Crescent Trail also is set to reopen at the same time.
“It is very exciting to see we are back on track, pun intended,” said Council President Gabe Albornoz during an hour-long briefing at Tuesday’s Montgomery County Council meeting.
“We are behind. We’ve got some trust to make up,” said Councilmember Andrew Friedson to the representatives of the Purple Line. Friedson pressed officials as to why the Capital Crescent Trail cannot open earlier, as promised originally.
“I am going to strongly urge you to find any and all options to open the trail” before the Purple Line is complete. “It is a very, very significant issue for a lot of residents,” Friedson said.
Purple Line officials noted that any promises to open the trail were made by the prior builder. As of April 2022, Maryland Transit Solutions (MTS) became the new design-builder. MTS is compromised of the construction firms Dragados USA and OHL USA.
Councilmember Tom Hucker requested that pedestrian safety be a high priority, with flaggers helping walkers and bicyclists know where to safely proceed during construction throughout the line.
The light rail will extend 16.2 miles and stop at 21 stations. Those stops will connect to three MARC train stations and four Metro rail stations.
There are 26 cars already purchased with 19 ready to ship. There will be 28 cars in total. The completed cars are in Elmira, N.Y.
Each car has 80 seats, with room for 400 standing passengers. There also is room for eight wheelchairs and bicycle storage.
The cars are 142-feet long, which is one-and-a-half times as long as the length of many light rail train cars. The ones here will be the longest ones running in the United States, according to Matthew Pollack, executive director of MDOT MTA.
The trains will run every eight minutes. Fares have not yet been determined.
Construction currently going on in downtown Silver Spring, Bethesda, Lyttonsville and other areas along the route includes electric, sewers and storm drain work.
“Construction is ramping up,” said Pollack. “That’s how we are going to meet our schedule going forward.”
Once all the work is completed, the trains will be tested for 14 months before opening to passengers.
PURPLE LINE PROJECT OVERVIEW- BENEFITS:
-Create several new multimodal connections across the region.
-Expand transit opportunities to two of the fastest-growing counties in the state.
-Create convenient, dependable east-west transit. https://t.co/0SrUpysG8Q pic.twitter.com/c04b6qI5Ss
— Montgomery Council (@MoCoCouncilMD) September 13, 2022